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The Equifax Hack: We Need Cybersecurity More Than Ever

Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies in the USA, was hacked and over 140 million Americans had their entire credit history stolen, including Social Security Numbers, names, birth dates, addresses, drivers license numbers, any bankruptcies within the last seven years, and more.

So what happens next, and what do you need to do to protect yourself?

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU WERE AFFECTED?

If someone steals your identity, it will become difficult to do anything that requires credit (like applying for a loan, mortgage, car, or rental.) That's because you'll need to fight to prove that you're not the person who stole your identity.

WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW

GET A COPY OF YOUR CREDIT REPORT

Regardless of whether or not you were told by the Equifax website that you were affected, you should request a hard copy of your credit score to have on hand. You receive one free report every year.

This way, if someone ends up stealing your identity and lowering your credit score (by taking out a bunch of credit cards or applying for financing in your name), you have at least a small paper trail to help prove your innocence.

Visit Annual Credit Report for more information and to request your scores. This is the only site where you're able to request your score without paying an extra fee.

SIGN UP FOR CREDIT MONITORING

Equifax is offering one year of free credit monitoring to those who were impacted by the breach. Visit their website for details on enrollment.

If you're not interested in Equifax's credit monitoring, other bureaus like Experian and TransUnion are the other two large credit reporting agencies that offer monitoring services.

FREEZE YOUR CREDIT

If you aren't applying for credit (like a mortgage or new credit card) in the near future, consider putting a freeze on your credit. This will make it different for someone to sign up for credit using your information.

Reach out to the three credit agencies (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax) and put a freeze on your credit. Equifax is offering to waive the freeze fee for the next 30 days.

What does this do? It means no one can look at your credit or apply for credit using your credentials until the freeze is lifted. This won't affect the accounts you already have open, so you'll still be able to use your credit card and make payments on any loans you have.

Freezing your credit does not affect your credit score, but it costs money to un-freeze your credit (usually between $30-$50.)

CYBERSECURITY: MORE IMPORTANT NOW THAN EVER

Our lives are becoming more and more digital every day. As a response, people are finding new and clever ways to compromise data and steal. Because of this surge of cyber crime, cybersecurity specialists are more necessary than ever. Because of the speed at which the crime is growing, people need cybersecurity skills quickly - and that's why bootcamps are perfect.